Desert FLEAS: Field tests of EVA/robotic collaborative planetary geological exploration

David L. Akin, Srikanth Saripalli, Kip Hodges, Kelsey Young, Kevin Davis, Amanda Salmoiraghi, Massamiliano Di Capuaz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The paper serves as a mid-program review for the Desert Field Lessons in Engineering and Science (Desert FLEAS), a joint University of Maryland/Arizona State University in vestigation of collaborative EVA/robotic geological exploration of planetary surfaces. After a brief synopsis of three prior field series and discussion of lessons learned to date, this pa- per details plans for the last two tests in planned series: Desert FLEAS IV tests, scheduled for autumn, 2013 in northern Arizona, and Desert FLEAS V in spring 2014 in southern Arizona. These sites represent an order of magnitude increase in the terrain challenges for both the human subjects and the RAVEN support rover, with deep ravines frequently obstructed by rockfalls. The upcoming test series will focus on extended (multisite, multikilometer) traverses by single and paired EVA subjects, in conjunction with the revised and upgraded RAVEN support rover. Detailed test objectives will include the use of smaller survey rovers to assess upcoming transit routes and provide preliminary scouting prior to human arrival, as well as the experimental use of alternate technologies to reach rock sampling sites not accessible by simple walking or climbing in the space suit simulators. Quantitative data will be collected by the BPMS and in-suit metabolic workload systems based on oxygen uptake and CO2 production, as well as standardized subjective evaluations including Cooper-Harper ratings and NASA Task Load Index studies. The paper also summarizes collaborations with the HI-SEAS analogue studies in Hawaii, which has adopted the UMd space suit simulators for EVA operations, and ends with a discussion of the value of an ongoing series of field analogue simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication43rd International Conference on Environmental Systems
StatePublished - 2013
Event43rd International Conference on Environmental Systems, ICES 2013 - Vail, CO, United States
Duration: Jul 14 2013Jul 18 2013

Publication series

Name43rd International Conference on Environmental Systems


Other43rd International Conference on Environmental Systems, ICES 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVail, CO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering


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